One Word (surrounded by lots of others)

A very wise, very dear friend of mine posted this morning that she chose #oneword to help direct her intent for the new year and I immediately fell in love with this idea. Not only because her reasoning and insight was so powerful, but also because I’ve never much bought into New Year’s resolutions. I’ve always been the kind of person who continually tries to work on things (often to my detriment, but I’m working on that, too! ;P). I don’t know if I do this because I enjoy challenges, because I’m stubborn, or what, but having a chronic illness ties into this mentality even more because every day is, essentially, a new resolution. I'm always weighing what I can and can't do. What I would like to accomplish vs. what I is even possible. And, generally, my daily goals are usually the same as they've always been (with variations like "managing to put on real pants" vs. "completing a marathon" depending on how I feel).

As one could imagine though, always trying to better yourself can be exhausting, unhealthy, and counteractive. (Only took me 12+ years of eating disorders and chronic fatigue/dysautonomia to teach me that! Like I said – stubborn.)  Lately, within the past few years, I've been trying my best to live by “balance” and “acceptance”. In fact, they’ve become little mantras for me without even realizing it I think, and have been immeasurable in their ability to draw me out of old patterns and back into the present moment in my daily life and mind. As well as related to my chronic illness by balancing pushing myself and working toward those daily resolutions with accepting my limitations (still SO HARD FOR ME AAAH!).

So, just as my beautiful friend has chosen to “embrace” this one word concept, I decided to also. (Thank you, Favorite! <3)

With that, I dove into reading and hearing about other peoples’ words and their reasonings for them. They were all magnificent and perfect in their own right and I felt like, with each “oneword”, every person gifted me something about themselves I would never have known otherwise. I, however, had yet to come up with mine. Patience, maybe? But that ship sailed a long time ago (and I’ve accepted that. (SeewhatIdidthere?!)). Bravery? Hmmm, good – but doesn’t quiet feel right. Vulnerability? Oh god, that one scares me, so no.

And then I stopped myself – if it scares me then maybe that is exactly the one I need.

So I mulled this over between dog-snores and dog-farts and decided on a variation of vulnerability:


And all of the sudden, all the concepts started pouring out:

First it started with being honest and putting my writing out there. I mean – out there out there. Telling people I’m doing it and owning it even if it makes me feel kind of pukey to do so, especially allowing strangers and people I know to read it (and I still can’t figure out which one of these is more terrifying to me)!

Then it moved to being honest with others. Saying what I need, saying what I think, saying what I feel. And not in the round-about way I’ve built myself up to doing after years of practice. Now I need to do it with that final leap – with to-the-point-words and sentences ending in big, fat periods.

Which drifted to being honest as to why that scares me so much. In being honest in all my fears and honest in my vulnerabilities. And being honest in why feeling vulnerable scares the everliving shit out of me. I mean, I’ve tried to dabble in it (Vulnerability: The Gateway Fear). In fact, just the other day I texted someone – actually initiated a conversation to talk about how I was feeling and needing help – and I got a reaction that didn’t suit me. So I shut down. “Oh, they don’t really care to know and I’m already uncomfortable and feeling vulnerable so at least I tried.” I said to myself, and that was that. But why not take the next step? Why not say, "Hey, I was trying to open up just then and I need more from you."? That way I know I gave my honest self to the situation. And if it still doesn't pan out like I need, then I have to walk away and accept it.

I need to be careful in honesty, yes. Not just spout everything off to everyone. I need to be conscionable and learn the balance within this just like I have worked for balance in so many different things. But I also need to be forthcoming so people know when I do say something important, I really mean it.

Which finally led to being honest with myself. When my Dysautonomia or fibromyalgia is too much and I can't walk the dogs or do all the things. Or, conversely, being honest when I really can push myself and just don't want to. And always examining the honesty in, and of, my intentions – in writing, in interacting, in everything.

And then I thought, “Man… I should’ve chosen another word.”

Anyway, I will continue to mull over this for a while. I do think it could be especially powerful for those of us who are in #edrecovery, though, as we tend to focus on specifics, black and white things, etc. Whereas a single world can encompass a lot, be very broad and forgiving, and force us to move more freely in our expectations or ourselves and our worlds.


What do you think? What would your #oneword/intent be?

Honestly, I want to know.

Inside an Obsessive Mind: Pie Poetry Edition!

First Christmas that my lad and I
will be apart from kin,
so I brainstorm something special
to keep the season in:

"I shall make some yummy things!
Like all the grown-ups do!
A turkey! Stuffed with stuffing!
And smashed potatoes, too!"

I stopped just short of "Vegetables!" -
hot damn, was that one close.
I may be faux grown-up-ing it
but veggies are still gross.

"PIE!" I yelled at very last
though I knew it since the start.
"Pumpkin and delicious!
And spiced to warm the heart."

So Christmas crept in tiny paces
until its Eve arrived
and I mixed and poured and baked
and soon a pie was pied.

"It's good." I said after a bite,
the fork still in my hand.
"But it's just not right 'enough' I think."
And that's when it began:

"I will make a new one!
To make it how I must!
New custard and new sweetness!
A new and flaky crust!"

'Cept two pies, although good,
might make digestion skewed;
"I could toss the first", I thought,
"but I don't like wasting food."

"Give slices to our neighbors then?"
But that was weird as well -
'Here is half a pie, new friends!
Aren't we friggin' swell?!'

"Accept it, Me!" I told myself.
"It's not a big 'to do'.
Love and friends are all that's right!"
And I know this through and through.

But minds are silly, funny things.
And mine the most of all -
Stuck in little endless thoughts,
looped and imbecile.

So here I am, I'm wide awake,
with options all repeating.
None of which'll fit just right
but none of which are leaving!

Sit Quietly...

There used to be so many feelings I couldn't handle.

As time has continued and I have focused my energy, new thought processes, and lots of practice, most have become easier to manage. To be mostly OK with and settle in to. Or, perhaps at the very least, to recognize more quickly than I used to (which, often times, was not at all).

I have to stay on top of my thoughts or else they can overtake me. Whether they revolve around self-worth, the eating disorder voice, anxieties, my penchant for obsessive thinking -- it can be any, or all, or something else entirely different. But my mind will run... and run... and run if I let it.

Even if it is with genuinely good intent: writing more, connecting, doing things around the house -- I can get so caught up in end results, what I want to accomplish, that I wind up feeling disjointed, rushed, and not present. Like I've climbed onto a lamppost to see far beyond the crowd rather than letting myself wade through it, brushing shoulders with people, stepping on popcorn, petting dogs parked under awnings waiting for their owners.

It’s not about being better – not this time – even though that is often a common theme for me. It is, for lack of a better word, tunnel vision. And I don’t think that is necessarily a "bad" thing unless you have a tendency to get 'stuck' like I do.

Since eight years ago when I started my recovery, I have worked very hard to keep myself in the moment. It is vital in helping me stay grounded, present, and not get swooped up into my mind like I so frequently can be. Sometimes I resort to sayings or platitudes to help ‘reign myself in’, but these can often be difficult for me to buy into. Especially when there are things I want, and am ready, to accomplish. Goals are not about the journey, but about the end result, aren’t they?

I wonder if this is one of many reasons why recovery can be so difficult. Because there is a place we know we want to be – we have made the choice, we have decided this is what we want to pursue and this is what we want to accomplish – and then we have to slug our way to it.

Most of the time, staying present makes sense to me. It serves many purposes that I can see and feel. But when I’m working toward something, I have discovered staying present seems less relevant. And though I have been practicing for the last eight years to bring myself back HERE, wherever I am, again and again, it is like I sometimes get so caught up in the vortex of my mind that even if I find the ground it doesn't seem like it will serve a means to this particular end.

Perhaps there is a lesson in all this. In staying present when it feels unrelated. In fighting to stay grounded even when it doesn’t make sense.

Or, perhaps, as I sit here and think, maybe what drives my determination toward more of an obsessive focus is not being satisfied with where I am currently.

But what is wrong with where I am? What is wrong with slowly finding my way to my goals? What is wrong with us being right where we are in our recovery?

There used to be so many feelings I couldn’t handle. So many I've been able to grow into. So why is moving at a pace different than what I want still one of them?

Why is it still so hard sometimes for me to sit quietly and let the grass grow by itself?

Tonight, dysautonomia is...

Tonight, dysautonomia is crying in the dark of your car outside a sports arena.

For so long you've tried to make the best of it. To accept where you are, but also not to give up. And the tangy orange glow of the parking lamp and the promise of your pups at home in slumber reminds you of how tremulously you have lived on that wire. But the blood on your knees—the aching of your muscles reminding you of all you were once able to do. As if their shuddering is not only the unending fatigue, the cries of their atrophy, but the painfully escaping reminiscence of your past life in which you could run. Run. Run! Run freely and without fear. Your mind and your body together, creating their own kind of art. Your feet carrying you, your heart. You were on your own wire then—your own goddamn golden thread. 

Tonight, dysautonomia is the dark of my car outside a sports arena. The tangy orange glow of the parking lamp. The wire now cut between me and my muscles, crying for one last sprint without prudence. To go and to go and to go. And never to stop.

POEM: I Am Already Dead

I am already dead.
My life barreling toward an asterisk*,
fine font at the base of a page.
Not a soul but a statistic;
a blip of a bitmap on a graph
behind the entertainment section.

But you don't care.
           At least
           not enough.

Oh, you'll care to send out thoughts
or prayers, 
care to critique politics or policies, 

you Congressmen, "representatives". You presidents.
You'll defend or admonish.
Comment on religion, verbiage, agendas.
And rights!

But only in the sense of
who is right—
which is you, of course,
always you. Because
        that's what it really comes down to,
        isn't it?

But you won't care enough
to speak and
to listen.

To toil together
beyond blanket bromides
and partisan principles.

To have the goddamn balls
in order to sift through the blood
that isn't yours,
fingers coated and cold,
for an answer.


            we’ll just keep dying
            because nothing changes.

Because you won't even care enough
to remember my name
after enough time has passed.

Which is why
I will be a statistic.
Just like all the rest. 
Just like all the ones to come. 
Just like every one of us already is
while you argue
above our young dead bodies
about how fucking much you care.

*And no one will know
she laughed as hard as she loved.

© s.e. carson